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807The Great Manhattan debate on the Lobby II

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  • Israel Shamir
    Oct 7, 2006
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      The GreatManhattan debate on the Lobby:

      an additional report by Shamireaders’ own Dan of New York

      (with a few great new discoveries among them Khalidi’s saying that the Mearsheimer/Walt paper overestimated the influence of The Lobby on foreign policy but also underestimated its influence on domestic policy such as The Patriot Act. This is exactly a point we were doing all along: the Jewish Lobby’s primary goal is not Palestine , but your freedom.):


      On the way to the Israel Lobby debate at Cooper Union, we saw an anti-war rally with some sort of disturbance going on as a dozen young people ran around on the little island on Sixth Avenue across from the old site of the Peppermint Lounge. The twist to the rally was that it was a corny parody of a 60’s antiwar rally played out by some actors. So fake out: just another corporate tourist skit for Manhattan ’s relentless disneyfication.

      Two friends were with me; one was deathly ill but insisted on coming. And there was indeed a Nunc dimittis cast to the unprecedented event, exemplified by several moribund looking octogenarian gents in blue blazers who hobbled out at the end presumably to hail a cab to a funeral home: “Now, may Thy faithful servant depart...”

      The Israeli team, Indyk, Ross, and Ben Ami incarnated the truth of Mearsheimer’s self-evident thesis. Indyk, for his career trajectory from Aipac research director to ambassador to Israel . Ross for his role as Israel ’s lawyer at Camp David , and the Israeli Ben Ami for debating an American domestic issue. One of his absurd stratagems was to reproach Mearsheimer for having left out Israel from his forty-page paper on the American Israeli Lobby, evidence of “shoddy scholarship.” As they sat there I could imagine Indyk doing his velocirapter “stare of death” and menacing the mild unflappable Mearsheimer: “What is the audience going to believe? Us or the evidence of their own eyes?”

      For connoisseurs and mavens of bullshit and squid ink there were a few choice delicacies to savor spread on wry. After Ben Ami’s vehement and otiose complaint (So what are we? Chopped liver?), my favorite of these was Ross’s contention that 9/11 couldn’t possibly have anything to do with Israel since at that time the Peace Process was proceeding so successfully that Arabs had no grievance against the US for its alliance withIsrael . He grinned broadly like a winning game show contestant as he extruded this pearl of pilpul to the groans of some in the audience. Some people can’t take a joke. They really should have laughed but they probably read the New York Times and take the shell games of discourse management seriously.

      The “Israelis,” – which I think is the best term of art with which to absolve Indyk and Ross of the charge of dual loyalty –represented the “good cops” and the “human face” of Zionism, the Labour left, hence the hair-splitting nano pilpulism as opposed to the heavy metal large bowel rage of a Dershowitz or Perle. The latter would have found it a bit trickier (but surely possible) to object “indykgnantly” to the term “cabal” in the paper since Perle himself, (aka the “Prince of Darkness--the antonomasia he enjoys) and his cohorts in the Pentagon indeed referred to themselves as “The Cabal.” These guys are basically deadpan schizophrenic comedians: “What? You think that’s funny? This soi-disant “Cabal” is one example of Mearsheimer and Walt’s clincher: The Lobby boasts of its power and vilifies and smears anyone who points out its power. Indyk, Ross, and Ben Ami’s basic line was whatever on earth you meant by The Lobby, it’s not us so you’re an anti-Semitic boob and we have little else to say. This posture was quite entertainingly acrobatic for the grotesque contortions they had to assume, rather like imagining Benny Morris delivering a eulogy at Deir Yassin in a red dress and stiletto heels.

      Amidst all the lies, pilpulisms, schizophrenic comedy, academic negotiations, and discourse management, Mearsheimer was outstanding for his simple clarity and his calm under Indyk’s stare of death. It seemed miraculous that this provincial professor (actually he’s a Brooklyn boy) should stand up to the Scarlet A accusation and Indyk’s Spielbergian special effects with such serene bemused sangfroid.

      The first question posed by the moderator had been “Was the paper “anti-Semitic?” While the reaction was not quite the gale force shit storm Dershowitz would have unleashed, the turds began flying and so besmeared, Mearsheimer soldiered on, without benefit of either psychological intensity, death stares, or glib verbal prestidigitation. And he had in fact been a soldier, an American soldier who came to academia through his own long march and who perhaps spoke from his conviction that American soldiers should not sacrifice their lives for Israel . And there was also the fact that he spoke the truth and in doing that the Holy Spirit was his advocate and our consoler. Perhaps he was “wise as a serpent”; he was certainly “gentle as a dove.”

      Tony Judt, the only noteworthy American Jew to endorse the paper in print, towards the end of the debate compared The Lobby to the Irish, Poles, and Cubans perhaps to palliate the outrage that had taken place. Rashid Khalidi was swift on the uptake with what appeared to me at first another negotiation when he asserted that he thought the Mearsheimer/Walt paper overestimated the influence of The Lobby on foreign policy but also underestimated its influence on domestic policy such as The Patriot Act. He might have gone on to discuss The Military Commissions Act passed three days ago by congress that has effectively abrogated habeas corpus and the Bill of Rights for the infinite duration of the perpetual war against evil, extremism, and olive trees. RIP: American Republic .

      Khalidi also got the biggest laugh of the evening since the audience seemed disinclined to bust a gut over the Israeli’s schizophrenic schlock. When Ross’s microphone wouldn’t work, Khalidi passed him his own, quipping, “this is the first time a Palestinian has ever had the chance to give the opposition permission to narrate.” The big laugh was for the recognition of the late Edward Said’s poignantly abject petition for the Palestinian to be granted “permission to narrate.” I thought it was interesting that Phillip Weiss of The New York Observer, in his self-absorbed and aptly titled column “Mondoweiss”, bleached the phrase into “enable to narrate” and so missed the poignancy of the point. In retrospect, the joke brings a tear with a smile since the Palestinians still don’t have permission to narrate their way far beyond a few beleaguered and expensive academic courses.

      In any event, with the passage of the Military Commissions Act, Americans can enjoy greater solidarity with the Palestinians and their outlaw status. Now we are subjects of a not so benign global hegemony based on fear, terror, and torture administered by a new “unitary” executive. How did this happen? Who did this to us? Why? (rhetorical questions, folks: I’m a comedian too). The bill passed without opposition and only perfunctory kvetching from chatting class hacks and other MSM. The campuses are all chill and laid back and like, “whatever.” Indeed, the noteworthy opposition came from Arlen “Single Bullet Theory” Spector who enjoyed doing a few soft shoe turns and exhibiting his concern for the chilling effect the bill might have for civil liberties. Then he voted for the bill anyway, expressing his confidence that the courts will pilpul in perpetuity over it.

      At the end of the last chapter of The Prince entitled “Exhortation to Liberate Italy from the Barbarians”, Machiavelli speaks of “the barbarous tyranny that stinks in the nostrils of us all.” Here in the erstwhile republic most folks don’t smell a thing but a few of us are breathing through the mouth as we watch and pray and narrate without permission.

      Dan from New York


      PS. We need translators from French to English!


      2. The Politics of F- Words
      by Frank Scott

      The most recent strategy of our rulers has been to reactivate and heighten the f*** factor in prepping for the elections. The opposition has retaliated by initiating its own f*** factor. As a result, the nation is being f*** anew. Let's recap:
      Terrorists are planning to wipe us out in ways known to our ruling serial killers but unknown to ordinary mortals. Not to worry, our government is on the job and stopping those villains, whether they exist or not. And foiling their plots, whether they exist or not. Before they can be carried out, whether they exist or not. Rest easy?

      No way. More plots are brewing, and those who criticize the efforts to arrest, torture and kill our enemies are in league with the terrorist conspiracy, which now involves more nations and people than it did five years ago. Didn't they tell us this would be a long war that would take years, maybe decades, maybe centuries, to win? Are we out of our f*** minds?

      Just as this strategy to instill greater f*** than ever in the hearts and minds of our voters so that they might cast their ballots in total ignorance and panic, another use of the f*** word was discovered by the opposition. The party wing that stands for the rights of (some) gay people found out that a representative, a closet f***, was engaging in f*** with teenaged congressional pages . Shocking, especially since this f*** might well have wanted to f***these young boys, which would look very bad to the conservative base supporters in the f*** community.
      That is, if they forget that sending teenage boys and girls into this nest of horny immoralists regularly produces scandal every few years. The only difference in reaction to these sexual adventures depends on whether the evildoer is a member of the liberal or conservative wing of the ruling party.

      Since the liberal side depends not only on the Israeli lobby but also on some horny secular types for its f*** base, it reacts with more tolerance, especially when one of its own is screwing around, or hinting at thinking about screwing around. The other side depends not only on the Israeli lobby but also on some Armageddonly pseudo-celibate types for its f*** base, so it screams bloody murder at any attempt to screw around, screw straight, or screw any other way. Unless, of course, its own hot armageddonites are the ones doing the screwing.

      Mind you, that we are murdering people all over the world isnt all that important. But that someone in congress may have been thinking about having sex with teenagers, and worse, got caught in his thoughts, wow! That is a major problem that should bring the nation to a standstill.

      What’s a citizen to do? Vote for the f***factor and support our rulers, or the f***factor and support our alternate rulers? Many will probably choose to f*** the whole process, which under these circumstances might not be a bad idea.

      Back in the real world - barely noticed by our media, our politicians and by virtue of their lies and misinformation, our people - things have been moving in the direction of a different f*** word. The global struggle of people to f*** themselves from the yoke of neoliberal imperialism - terms hardly ever heard here in f***country - is making gains that translate into losses for what seems to be our side, but really isn’t. Confused? Don't be such a f***.

      Progress in the global movement does not come without continued suffering. The death toll is rising in Iraq , the horror continues in Palestine , and there is a renewed threat that the idiot f*** U.S. regime and its Israeli partners might be stupid enough to attack Iran . What the f*** are we to do?

      Some will try voting , in an election that may break records for low turnouts. While disgust with the political process grows, there is no alternative party yet strong enough to truly offer national opposition to the ruling cabal. But desperate hope will attract participation in the struggle between the polio party and the cancer party, offering the choice of a crippling or a terminal disease. Vote for the cripple party and pray for a cure, so to speak. This will have to do, until Americans move on from the divisive search for bad guys and conspiracies to start a war, and focus on achieving some democratic unity in order to change systems and stop all war.

      That involves a broader critique of what ails us, and a more informed and inclusive organization of citizens to confront our collective problems. Whether the threat of global warming, the arrogance of foreign policy or the broader economic racism at the core of imperial domination, these will not be solved by changing the furniture at the palace, but only by rebuilding the entire structure. Among other things, that will call for a new party, and we don't seem politically mature enough to create one at this time . That’s why we’re stuck with these f*** lames .

      So on election day, whether you stay home and participate in TV’s alleged reality , or go to the polls and participate in our alleged democracy, try not to be too disappointed at your spectator status. Start building a new political voice for all of us, and next time you may be able to do something to f***them, and not yourself.

      frank scott

      3. An illustration to the words of Dan (see above): The Lobby boasts of its power and vilifies and smears anyone who points out its power.



      London mayor takes fight against suspension to High Court

      By Reuters

      LONDON - London Mayor Ken Livingstone launched a High Court challenge yesterday to overturn a four-week suspension from office for likening a Jewish reporter to a concentration camp guard.


      4. This is an occasion to introduce a friendly email-list called WORLD VIEW NEWS SERVICE (To subscribe wvns-subscribe@yahoogroups.com to view ARCHIVE http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/wvns/ ) managed by an intellectual and radical couple from Boston area, Maria and Joachim. They accepted (rather than inherited) Islam. For some tactical reasons, Joachim uses the word “ashkenazim” instead of the J-word. Here is their report on the US Muslims attempt to use Jewish tactics against Jews: I personally do not think it is a good idea, copycatting rarely is; but here you are.


      Islamic Society of Boston suit moves forward


      September 30, 2006



      A judge ruled yesterday that a lawsuit brought by the Islamic Society of Boston asserting that news media outlets and other individuals had conspired to publish false and defamatory information about mosque leaders could go forward. The Islamic Society sued a group of individuals and entities including the Boston Herald, WFXT-TV (Channel 25), a pro-Israel group The David Project, and terrorism specialist Steven Emerson asserting that they coordinated a campaign falsely linking mosque officials to Islamic extremism and terrorist groups in television and newspaper stories. The plaintiffs say that the connections were fabricated and that the stories have interfered with their right to the free exercise of their religion. The defendants reject the conspiracy and defamation claims, and argued that the case should be dismissed before its merits were considered, in part because the stories were protected under the First Amendment. Superior Court Judge Janet L. Sanders rejected that argument and decided that the plaintiffs' claims should be heard in court.


      Islamic Society subpoenas WTTK in defamation suit

      Comment by Joachim Martillo - thorsprovoni@...


      The Boston Herald article <http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=154654 >is particularly noteworthy for the important information that has been left out.


      All Americans must be concerned with an emerging pattern of attempts to silence discussion both of collective ethnic Ashkenazi behavior in English-speaking countries and also of Zionist colonizer behavior in Stolen and Occupied Palestine . This pattern is not new. Eastern European ethnic Ashkenazi communities were characterized by a culture that strictly controlled deviance and divergent opinions among members until well into the 19th century. Moreover in Eastern and Central Europe ethnic Ashkenazim have a long history of resorting to slander, libel, harassment by frivolous law suits and other coercive tactics to silence external critics of ethnic Ashkenazi behavior. Alan Dershowitz used an underhanded campaign of smear and insinuation in an attempt to block the publication of Norman Finkelstein's latest book entitled Beyond Chutzpah, On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History Charles Jacobs and the David Project have put together a smear campaign (Columbia Unbecoming) against Joseph Massad and other professors and preceptors at Columbia . There appears to have been a smear campaign at Princeton against Rashid Khalidi to prevent an offer of a professorship. We have also seen simultaneous attacks on Israelis and ex-Israelis sympathetic to Palestinians. The targets seem to include Gilad Atzmon , Israel Shamir, Jeff Halper, Avi Shlaim and Ilan Pappe. Sympathetic non-Jews like Susan Blackwell have also been on the radar screen. In Boston , Fox and the Boston Herald waged a long running smear campaign against Yousuf Abou al-Laban and other members of the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB). Charles Jacobs and the JCRC (Jewish Community Relations Council) Israel Action Center have been involved just as they have also been involved in the campaign against Somerville Divestment and in bribing Somerville Mayor Curtatone with a free trip toIsrael (in part sponsored by the American Jewish Congress-Council for World Jewry). Dr. Abou al-Laban and the ISB fought back by bringing complaints of defamation and interference with constitutional rights against various individuals and groups within the organized Boston Jewish community. In the course of discovery evidence was found indicating that these individuals and groups were colluding with Fox and the Herald on the coverage of the ISB and the ISB's dispute with these individuals and groups. Many journalists consider such behavior unethical. In this case such collaboration may approach criminal conspiracy, and the issue has become part of ongoing litigation, but the history of such apparent collusion makes it perfectly reasonable for the ISB to seek materials that talk show host Michael Graham used to support his remarks in his broadcast.


      One has to wonder whether Laura Crimaldi actually read the affidavits, complaints and counter-complaints in the lawsuits that surround the Roxbury Mosque or whether there has been a conscious decision on the part of the Herald once again to mislead its readership about the motives behind the attack on the Roxbury Mosque project and on secret collusive role that the Herald has apparently played in the conflict.