Sunday, December 25, 2011

Been There, Done That

Apparently, stir crazy "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is refusing to pen an op-ed piece for The New York Times, signalling the degree to which he is fed up with the influential newspaper's editorial policy on Israel." (Netanyahu snubs NY Times, Herb Keinon, The Jerusalem Post/The Australian Jewish News, 23/12/11)

Oh dear! Oh dearie dearie dear!

But the last straw, it seems, came when hip* liberal Zionist "Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote that the resounding ovation Netanyahu received in Congress when he spoke there in May had been 'bought and paid for by the Israel lobby'." (ibid)

OMG! Did he say thaaat?

Fraid so. And the following denunciation, by AIPAC-funded Israel firster Steve Rothman** (Democrat, New Jersey), is just the tip of the denunciatory iceberg:

"Thomas Friedman's defamation against the vast majority of Americans who support the Jewish state of Israel is scurrilous, destructive and harmful to Israel and her advocates in the US. Friedman is not only wrong, but he's aiding and abetting a dangerous narrative about the US-Israel relationship and its American supporters." (ibid)

But this really is the proverbial storm in a teacup. Friedman had, in fact, said as much, if a tad less forcefully, back in 1989, in his book, From Beirut to Jerusalem:

"Having become organized and energized around support for Israel [after 1967], the American Jewish community began to really assert itself on the American political scene. The so-called Jewish lobby, the American Israel Public affairs Committee (AIPAC), became one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in Washington, thanks to its ability to organize important constituencies of Jews all across America to vote in their local elections on the basis of which candidate was most supportive of aid to Israel... In the old days, when American Jews were known to support an array of liberal issues, an American politician who received campaign contributions from Jews could not really know if that support was linked to his position on labor rights, civil rights, abortion, or school prayer. However, as key Jewish philanthropists formed political action committees [PACs] focused exclusively on contributing money to those office seekers ready to support Israel, it became obvious to candidates that the most efficient way to raise funds was not by focusing on the 500 issues which span the spectrum of liberal ideology, but rather by focusing exclusively on Israel... The more that happened, the more American Jews realized that they could ride Israel... into the corridors of power. Jews did not get invited to the White House to discuss the Jewish aged or prayer in public schools. But a Jew who contributed large amounts of money to AIPAC, either at the local or national level, might find himself being consulted by his congressman about a particular foreign aid bill, or, if he was really lucky, invited to the State Department for an audience with the Secretary of State himself." (pp 457-458)

That was then. Imagine now.

[*I mean how hip is this: "There are many Iraqis embedded with US forces in Kirkuk. In the dining hall on the main base, I like to watch the Iraqi officers watching the melting pot of US soldiers around them - men, women, blacks, whites, Asians, Hispanics - and wonder: What have they learned from us? We left some shameful legacies here of torture and Abu Ghraib, but we also left a million acts of kindness and a profound example of how much people of different backgrounds can accomplish when they work together." (Goodbye Iraq, and good luck, NYT, 15/7/09). Such a pity Friedman's melting pot didn't do it for Pvt. Daniel Chen, who was dragged across a floor, pelted with stones, forced to hold liquid in his mouth while hanging upside down, and mercilessly taunted for his Asian background such that he either committed suicide or was murdered, the jury being still out on this one. (See War with fellow soldiers proves deadly, AP/The Australian, 22/12/11); ** According to the document Pro-Israel PAC Contributions to 2000, Congressional Candidates 1999-2000 cycle, Rothman had bagged a 'career total' of $20,503,]

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