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  Sad that America does not have a free press. Meet Israel's 'Loyal Opposition'.
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   Author  Topic: Sad that America does not have a free press. Meet Israel's 'Loyal Opposition'.  (Read 779 times)
Hermit
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Sad that America does not have a free press. Meet Israel's 'Loyal Opposition'.
« on: 2006-09-01 23:57:28 »
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[Hermit] A few brief extracts. Worth reading IMO. All emphasis is mine. None in the first piece because I hate to see articles which are mainly emphasized. Perhaps not entirely unanticipated, I see many parallels between the targets of this writing and Our Dear MisLeaderstm here in the USA.

Nasrallah for Prime Minister - of Israel

Look at the issues. Consider his record. Here is a man who is both strong and wise on security issues. He saw to it that his troops were well-prepared, well-trained, well-supplied, and and well-protected.

Nasrallah would be a new sort of Israeli leader. One who gets things done.

Here is a man who addresses social welfare needs head-on. He doesn't wait to help home-owners rebuild residences destroyed by aerial attacks. He hands out literal lump-sums, immediately, in cash.

Here is a man who delivers medical care to the needy, affordable housing to the homeless, food and even clothing to society's disadvantaged.

Here is a man who cares deeply about, and puts major emphasis on, education and youth [even if the message is one of incitement, hatred, and anti-Semitism].

Moreover, as he proved this week in admitting to having miscalculated the Israeli response in Lebanon, Nasrallah, as opposed to, say, Olmert, [Hermit: Or any NeoConArtist] is a leader who, when he's made an error in judgment, can openly admit to it.

[Hermit] Forget Israel. He would do the world more good (there certainly would be a global decrease in fear, uncertainty and sheer terror) if we simply exchanged Bush for Nasrallah. And Israel could breath a sigh of relief, as all the evidence suggests that Bush couldn't organize a pissup in a brewery even if somebody else knocked out all the bungs - and within a few weeks, if not sooner, somebody would almost certainly knock him off for being too stupid to survive in that imbroglio of tangled threads which is the politics of the Levant.

Hezbollah is not a terrorist organization

The Lebanon war just past was a new model of warfare, just as the  Hezbollah/Hamas model is a new model of governance.
The war was one of the first in history in which both sides began the war by concentrating their fire on the  enemy's home front.

<snip>

In Israeli media, even in ostensibly left-leaning outlets, Hezbollah men are with rare exceptions referred to as M'chablim, or terrorists. Hezbollah and Hamas are routinely described as Islamic terrorist organizations bent on Israel's destruction, just as they always have been - and which the Knee-Jerk Right insists they always must be.
In much of the foreign media - in particular among the acrobatic apologists of the Lawrence of Arabia Left - Hezbollah is identified variously as a guerrilla organization, a group of farmer-by-day resistance fighters, a political party and coalition partner in the ruling Lebanese cabinet, or a vast and vital social welfare network for the poorest of Lebanon's citizens.

<snip>

Just as Israel would do well to look with fresh eyes and new candor at itself in the light of the war, we would do well to try to divine what this creature called Hezbollah really is.

It is the world's best-armed and most dangerous NGO, a relief agency that does everything it can to kill maximum numbers of innocents across the border. It is the Corleone model of humanitarian aid work, winning gratitude and fealty with family packs of $12,000 in freshly wrapped currency.

<snip>

Death to Yuppiestan, or, Nasrallah was right

<snip>

Everyone here knows what's wrong. We've known it all along.

For years, we have gone along with a system we all know to be untenable. The hallmarks of the system were a grotesque caricature of what Israelis took to be America - bankers who take home a million shekels a year, while milking a burgeoning underclass sinking deeper by the day - combined with a government mired at all levels and in all ministries with apparatchiks who spent most of their time protecting their positions and finding new angles to pad their monthly wage slips.

The war showed, first of all, that the American video-gaming model of bomb from the air, bomb from the air, bomb from the air warfare is as inappropriate, morally disastrous, and ultimately self-defeating in Lebanon as it was in Iraq.
Closer to home, the doctrine of slash and burn economics which managed to deny both the army and the poor needed funds over the last several years, managed to make this a do-it-yourself war.


Soldiers were forced to supply themselves and, in some case, order themselves. On the home front, volunteers of all stripes, secular, ultra-Orthodox, Jewish and Arab, stepping in to help people in the north, sheltering them, feeding them, rescuing them. 

There's a clue in this for all of us.

If we can't seem to kill Nasrallah, it's time we learned something from him. It's time we looked inside ourselves and tapped into the inner guerrilla, the caustic and generous and improvisational and entirely unpredictable national personality that created this country and which kicks in when all else fails.

We've tolerated corruption for too long. For too long, we've allowed incompetence to go unaddressed, even rewarded. We've learned to countenance mediocrity, to let failure ride.

We have to rekindle the inner guerrilla that makes this place work. That gives us the strength and the smarts and the edge to keep this place vibrant. To keep us alive.

<snip>
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Re:Sad that America does not have a free press. Meet Israel's 'Loyal Opposition'
« Reply #1 on: 2006-10-09 16:16:48 »
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Again, a pair of not unrelated articles to operate as bookmarks.

In the first we see the "International Voice", where an Israeli expresses his view of America and Israel's mutual suicide pact in the form of criticism of American foreign policy published in Ha'aretz.

In the second we see the Religious Right's newspaper, the Washington Post, writing on the American Israeli Lobby and its role as suppressor of any discussion of Israel's role in American foreign policy. Comparisons might be odious, but they can also be useful.

Particularly when it is recognized that every national level politician in America is dependent on "soft-money" from Zionist organizations. This should be of great concern to Americans. Unfortunately most of them will never even read Mearsheimer and Walt's paper on the Jewish Lobby, and probably don't even realize this discussion is simply not raised by the mainstream media which even if it wanted to would be too terrified of the standard emotionally charged (but usually completely invalid) accusations of "anti-semitism."

While it is currently fashionable to level criticism on the "Madrasah" (Islamic religious schools) founded all over the Middle East by the CIA in order to create willing drones prepared to sacrifice themselves against the USSR, we forget that a prototype exists. The Jewish schools, or "midrasha," instituted around the world from the mid 1950s to the mid-1960s teach in much the same way and have done much to establish a support group for Israel to which first allegiance is granted irrespective of Israel's actions. This is almost certainly partly because the teaching is that Israel acts from noble motives or from necessity and this is reinforced on a daily basis by readings from the Tanakh, Mishnah, the Talmud and Midrash where Israel is often greatly wronged, but can do no wrong. It is that group of carefully selected childen (practical eugenics!), superbly educated and utterly indoctrinated which forms the Jewish lobby and its financial supporters of today. They may not produce suicide bombers, but what they do produce may, in the long run, end up far more harmful to the West.

Hermit


The mystery of America

Source: Ha'aretz
Authors: Gideon Levy
Dated: 2006-10-08

It happens once every few months. Like a periodic visit by an especially annoying relative from overseas, Condoleezza Rice was here again. The same declarations, the same texts devoid of content, the same sycophancy, the same official aircraft heading back to where it came from. The results were also the same: Israel promised in December, after a stormy night of discussions, to open the "safe passage" between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. This time, in what was considered the "achievement" of the current visit, Israel also promised to open the Karni crossing. Karni will be open, one can assume, only slightly more than the "safe passage," which never opened following the previous futile visit.

Rice has been here six times in the course of a year and a half, and what has come of it? Has anyone asked her about this? Does she ask herself?

It is hard to understand how the secretary of state allows herself to be so humiliated. It is even harder to understand how the superpower she represents allows itself to act in such a hollow and useless way. The mystery of America remains unsolved: How is it that the United States is doing nothing to advance a solution to the most dangerous and lengthiest conflict in our world? How is it that the world's only superpower, which has the power to quickly facilitate a solution, does not lift a finger to promote it?

What happened since 1956, when the U.S. made Israel withdraw from Sinai overnight with a single telephone call, immediately after the "Third Kingdom of Israel" speech by the strongest Israeli leader of all times, David Ben-Gurion? Now, as the occupation continues for years, with a government no less dependent on the good graces of the U.S. than in the past, why is America a bystander?


Countless trips by presidents and secretaries of state, peace initiatives and peace plans aplenty, from the Roger's Plan to the Road Map, via "reassessment," fruitless talks and flowery declarations, pressure and promises, discussions and decisions - and nothing has happened. And in the background, a fundamental question echoes, without a response: Is America at all interested in bringing about a solution in the Middle East? Is it possible that it does not understand how crucial it is to end the conflict?

As things appear, America can and does not want to. No government in Israel, and surely not the most recent ones, which are terrified of the American administration, would stand up to a firm American demand to bring the occupation to an end. But there has never been an American president who wanted to put an end to the occupation. Does America not understand that without ending the occupation there will be no peace? Peace in the region would deliver a greater blow to world terrorism than any war America has pursued, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Does America not understand this? Can all this be attributed to the omnipotent Jewish lobby, which causes Israel more harm than good?

The declared aim of U.S. policy in the Middle East is to bring democracy to the region. For this reason, ostensibly, the U.S. also went to war in Iraq. Even if one ignores the hypocrisy, self-righteousness and double-standard of the Bush administration, which supports quite a few despotic regimes, one should ask the great seeker of democracy: Have your eyes failed to see that the most undemocratic and brutal regime in the region is the Israeli occupation in the territories? And how does the White House reconcile the contradiction between the aspiration to instill democracy in the peoples of the region and the boycott of the Hamas government, which was chosen in democratic elections as America wanted and preached?


The U.S. also speaks loftily about peace. At the same time, its president warns Israel against any attempt to forge peace with Syria. Here America is taking a stance that not only fails to advance an accord but even undermines it. Ever since it began to give Israel a free hand to impose the brutal occupation in the territories, it has become a party that bequeaths undemocratic values to the entire world. Where are the days when there was still concern in Jerusalem about the U.S. reaction before each military operation? Israel then thought twice before every liquidation and each arrest. Every demolition of a Palestinian home and each nocturnal groundbreaking of a settlement raised fears about how Uncle Sam would react. And now - carte blanche. There is a blank check for every belligerent action by Israel. Should this also be called an effort for peace, for democracy?

The recent years have not been good for America. From "the leader of the free world," it has become detested by the world. Not only do South Africa, Asia and Africa feel strong animosity toward it, most of the public opinion in Europe has also turned away from it. Is anyone in the administration asking why the world loves so much to hate America? And what implications will this growing global feeling have on the strength of the U.S. in the years ahead? Can the dollar, the Tomahawk and the F-16 provide an answer for everything?

In the Middle East, the U.S. has an opportunity to fundamentally change its image, from a warmonger to a peacemaker. And how does the U.S. respond to the challenge? It sends Rice to tell the excited Ehud Olmert how she falls asleep easily on her unnecessary and ridiculous flights to and from the Middle East.

In N.Y., Sparks Fly Over Israel Criticism
Polish Consulate Says Jewish Groups Called To Oppose Historian

Source: [url=]Washington Post[/url]
Authors: Michael Powell
Dated: 2006-10-09

Two major American Jewish organizations helped block a prominent New York University historian from speaking at the Polish consulate here last week, saying the academic was too critical of Israel and American Jewry.

The historian, Tony Judt, is Jewish and directs New York University's Remarque Institute, which promotes the study of Europe. Judt was scheduled to talk Oct. 4 to a nonprofit organization that rents space from the consulate. Judt's subject was the Israel lobby in the United States, and he planned to argue that this lobby has often stifled honest debate.

An hour before Judt was to arrive, the Polish Consul General Krzysztof Kasprzyk canceled the talk. He said the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee had called and he quickly concluded Judt was too controversial.

"The phone calls were very elegant but may be interpreted as exercising a delicate pressure," Kasprzyk said. "That's obvious -- we are adults and our IQs are high enough to understand that."

Judt, who was born and raised in England and lost much of his family in the Holocaust, took strong exception to the cancellation of his speech. He noted that he was forced to cancel another speech later this month at Manhattan College in the Bronx after a different Jewish group had complained. Other prominent academics have described encountering such problems, in some cases more severe, stretching over the past three decades.

The pattern, Judt says, is unmistakable and chilling.

"This is serious and frightening, and only in America -- not in Israel -- is this a problem," he said. "These are Jewish organizations that believe they should keep people who disagree with them on the Middle East away from anyone who might listen."

The leaders of the Jewish organizations denied asking the consulate to block Judt's speech and accused the professor of retailing "wild conspiracy theories" about their roles. But they applauded the consulate for rescinding Judt's invitation.


"I think they made the right decision," said Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. "He's taken the position that Israel shouldn't exist. That puts him on our radar."

[color]David A. Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Congress, took a similar view. "I never asked for a particular action; I was calling as a friend of Poland," Harris said. "The message of that evening was going to be entirely contrary to the entire spirit of Polish foreign policy."[/color]

Judt has crossed rhetorical swords with the Jewish organizations on two key issues. Over the past few years he has written essays in the New York Review of Books, the London Review of Books and in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz arguing that power in Israel has shifted to religious fundamentalists and territorial zealots, that woven into Zionism is a view of the Arab as the irreconcilable enemy, and that Israel might not survive as a communal Jewish state.

The solution, he argues, lies in a slow and tortuous walk toward a binational and secular state.

He has, of late, defended an academic paper -- co-authored by professor Stephen M. Walt of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and John J. Mearsheimer, a professor at the University of Chicago -- which argues the American Israel lobby has pushed policies that are not in the United States' best interests and in fact often encourage Israel to engage in self-destructive behavior.

These are deeply controversial views -- Foxman of the ADL and writer Christopher Hitchens, among others, have attacked the Walt and Mearsheimer paper as anti-Semitic. And Judt's advocacy of a binational state has drawn a flock of critics, the more angry of whom accuse him of "pandering to genocide" as the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America put it. Former Bush speechwriter David Frum said Judt was pursuing "genocide liberalism."

Foxman has referred to Judt's views of Israel as "an offensive caricature."

The Mearsheimer and Walt paper, however, has drawn praise in some quarters in Israel, particularly on the left. So, too some Israeli writers, not least Israeli historian and social critic Amos Elon, have praised Judt's writings on Israel. Nor are Judt's arguments without historical precedent: Massachusetts Institute of Technology linguist and political philosopher Noam Chomsky, who is Jewish, has advocated a binational solution in Israel, a view that three decades ago sparked such anger that police stood guard at his college talks. More recently, the ADL repeatedly accused DePaul University professor Norman G. Finkelstein, who is Jewish and strongly opposes Israeli policies, of being a "Holocaust denier." These charges have proved baseless.

[color=red"There is an often organized and often spontaneous attempt to marginalize anyone in the Jewish world who offers a critique of Israeli policy," said Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of the liberal magazine Tikkun. "It's equated with anti-Semitism and Israel denial."[/color]

Foxman says such complaints are silly. "Nobody has called Judt an anti-Semite," [Hermit: This is a deliberate lie. Supra.] Foxman said. "People who are critical of Israel and of the Jewish people often flaunt their Jewishness. Why isn't that an issue?"

Judt replies that he only reluctantly talks of his Jewishness, in no small part to inoculate himself against charges of anti-Semitism. "For many, the way to be Jewish in this country is to aggressively assert that the Holocaust is your identification tag," Judt said. "I know perfectly well my history, but it never occurred to me that my most prominent identity was as a Jew."
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With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg, 1999
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