The Israel Lobby?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rahm Emanuel is Jewish??? [Jerusalem Post]

Katz went on to compare Emanuel to the biblical Esther, who ended up at using her influence with Persian King Ahashverosh to intervene on behalf of the Jews of the Persian Empire.

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” Katz wrote, quoting from the Book of Esther (4:14).

Plus, Jane Harman in trouble for a little quid pro quo with AIPAC? [Congressional Quarterly]

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Gaza: The View From Here

Friday, January 9, 2009

More than a couple of people have asked me why I haven’t written about Gaza.

My answer?

Why? What is the point? Even my exasperation and boredom with the topic of Israel/Palestine is cliche. Truly, what is there to say that hasn’t already been said?

Questions about right and wrong, absolutism vs. relativism, are wholly dependent upon which side of the war you fall on, upon your emotional connection to the issue. Any legitimately reasonable approach to the conflict recognizes that the problems of Israel are intractable.

To me, this leads to one conclusion. Scrap Israel/Palestine as presently constituted and start over again. It will take two contiguous sovereign states (north/south?) with equal rights and the wholesale movement of people, communities, industry, etc. Get all the Palestinians in one country and all the Jews in the other.

Does this sound impossible?

Maybe. In which case, there is no solution and these people will be killing each other forever. That’s it. It’s that simple. There is no other solution.

And if that’s the case, my feeling is…go for it, just keep it out of America. I do NOT want U.S. citizens involved in this endless, unsolvable war. Please go ahead and have at it, but I will never send my children to die for this nonsense.

For that matter, why must I read about it every day? People complain that universities that target Israel for divestiture are singling out that state, but they do so because we read about Israel every day on the cover of the New York Times. We don’t read about the Tamil Tigers and Sri Lanka every day. We read about Israel.

I won’t get into why that is the case, but simply note that it might be a good idea for Americans to ignore this conflict.

Naive? If we ignore it, it will certainly come back to haunt us?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Nothing compels our attention or participation but politics. And politics can change. It just takes a grassroots movement, because it won’t happen through the establishment. But imagine if America simply didn’t take sides. Abstained in the U.N. Treated Israelis and Palestinians equally.

All that said, I think the Palestinians are morons. If they were smart they would adopt a non-violent approach to their problem. Clearly, they are outgunned. Immediately give up all arms and disavow violence in any form. No terrorism, no army, nothing. Then they would truly be able to marshal global political power in a way that could rival the Jews. If they are then at the table, meeting as equals, possibilities open up.

Right now, I am convinced that Israel has the right to defend itself from rocket attacks, disproportionate response or not. Take away the possibility of war – and I believe the Israelis would be happy to never kill another Palestinian – and you’re getting some where. Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims generally, just have to accept that Israel is a fact of life. It’s a done deal. Get over it.

But this is just a pipe dream. It’s fantasy. These people will be killing each other forever.

And frankly, at this point, I don’t really care.


The Historical Bible

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wonderful Nova episode last night on PBS about trying to connect archaeological findings with the history of the Bible.

This is not an area where I feel well versed, but the show was eye-opening. Among biblical scholars, historians, and archaeologists, there seems to be a general consensus that the Israelites were originally Canaanites (that seems politically expedient, too) and that a small group emerged from Egypt and fused with these Canaanites in the central highlands (what is now the Westbank) to create the Jewish people.

The story of Exodus was likely brought by this small group. There is some evidence that indicates these migrants worshiped a god with the name Yahweh.

This took place between roughly 1300 and 1000 BCE.

Fascinating stuff. And, naturally, subject to some dispute. For my money, this kind of scholarship, divorced from the prerogatives of belief, is essential for human cultural evolution. The Bible is a complex and unmatched tapestry of myth and history. It is not, by any stretch, the word of God. The more we learn, the clearer that becomes.

The episode will be available on the PBS website later today. Here is a supporting interview from the site with Carol Meyers, an archeologist and professor of religion at Duke University.

Worth watching.


The Great Schlep Continues

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Great Schlep continues. Here’s a piece from the CBS Evening News (produced by my friend Cassie Feldman):

In case you missed it, here’s the original video:

And a related story from CNN.

It genuinely appears to be working, at least a little. And Florida continues to be very competitive for Obama.


Jesse Jackass: Part II

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I was hesitant to link to this but I’m going to go ahead because I think it’s important to disassociate Obama from the likes of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Bill Clinton.

One of the great benefits of an Obama presidency will be a true generational shift away from the 60s era political leaders of the Jackson/Clinton ilk (which explains their passive-aggressive antipathy). Whether or not Obama solves America’s race problem (he won’t and can’t), he will represent a step forward and away from a race conscious past. Post-racial is the right word.

And while it’s likely that marginalized groups will always find comfort in the likes of Jesse Jackass, we can keep hope alive that his future, and the future of others like him who racketeer in victimhood, will be diminished come November 4.


McCain, Palin and the Jews

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I’ve been meaning to write this up myself, but AMERICAblog has done the work for me. Here’s an excerpt:

Then there are John McCain’s friends on the religious right who:

– Think that a Jewish upbringing leads to a life of crime.
– Promote Holocaust revisionism.
– Publicly claim that Jews control Hollywood.

Then there was the time Sarah Palin quoted the notorious anti-Semite.

And the question of whether Sarah Palin donated to Jews for Jesus.

And the time Sarah Palin got on stage with a preacher who had just accused Jews of running, and ruining, the banking industry.

He’s got all the links to backup the claims. Enjoy!


Why is Sarah Palin Meeting with AIPAC?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tucked safely away in her undisclosed location, Sarah Palin took some time yesterday to meet with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the powerhouse “pro-Israel lobby.”

Beyond the questionable timing of this meeting (she blew off Phyllis Schlafly and has otherwise been in hiding) isn’t she supposed to be a reformer?

Doesn’t taking a meeting with a lobbyist, in probably the most crucial 72 hours of her life, demonstrate a little problem with the McCain/Palin “maverick” credentials?

Just asking.